The central claim being used to keep our schools closed is that children might be super spreaders of the corona virus. The claim is that children might pick up the virus while at school and either infect teachers or take the virus home to infect and kill their parents and grandparents.
There has never been any credible scientific studies to support this fear mongering. In this article, we will first summarize nearly 100 studies all of which conclude that children do not spread the corona virus.
We will then look at reports that have claimed that children are super spreaders. This is the fifth of a series of articles I have posted in the past week explaining why it is safe to reopen our public schools. Here are links to the other four:
100 studies all of which conclude that children do not spread the corona virus
Example 1: UK Summary of 78 Studies
On April 22, 2020, a 45 page study was published in the UK by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health concluding that children do not pose a significant threat of transmitting the corona virus to adults. Here is a link to this very important study:
The researchers reviewed all 78 scientific studies on this subject – studies from countries around the world. They found that the infection rate in children under the age of 10 was extremely low. More important, they found that there was not a single reported case of a child under the age of 10 transmitting the virus to any adult – anywhere in the world! The report then included links to all 78 studies and summaries of all of these studies.
I read these 78 remarkable studies and the evidence they provided was both objective and powerful. One of the largest studies was a study of hundreds of cases in China:
Example 2: China Study
A study published on April 1, 2020 of 419 household corona virus transmission clusters in China did not detect a single cluster where the index case was under the age of 15.
Another study involved a child in France who was infected and while infected came into contact with more than 100 adults. Follow up of all the adults found that none of them had been infected by the child.
These 78 studies were the basis for this sentence in my Voters Guide Statement I submitted in May 2020: “It makes no sense to shutdown schools for months at a time when there is not even a single case of any child in any school anywhere in our state transmitting the corona virus to any adult.”
Many people have emailed me and called me to ask if I still believed this statement is true. I have told all of them that we have even more evidence that it is true now than when I turned in my Voters Guide statement back in May. Here are just a few of the more recent studies:
Example 3: Ireland Study
On May 25, 2020, a group of Irish researchers published a study of children in Ireland who were known to have contracted the corona virus. Here is a link to this study:
Three child cases and three adult cases of COVID19 with a history of school attendance were identified. The data for all six of these cases indicated that they had not been infected with the corona virus in the school setting. One child case attended a primary school, while the other two child cases attended secondary schools. One of the adult cases was a teacher, while the other adult cases conducted educational sessions in schools. Contact-tracing records for all six cases were reviewed to identify cases of secondary transmission.
A total of 1,155 contacts of these six cases were identified. They were exposed at school in the classroom, during sports lessons, music lessons and during choir practice for a religious ceremony, which involved a number of schools mixing in a church environment.
Among 1,001 child contacts of these six cases there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19. In the school setting, among 924 child contacts and 101 adult contacts identified, there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Here is a table of the contacts for all six cases.
Here is the conclusion of this study: “These findings suggest that schools are not a high risk setting for transmission of COVID-19 between pupils or between staff and pupils. “
Example 4: French Study
On June 23, 2020, a study of schools in France was published. Here are some quotes: “Of the 1,340 people included in the study, 139 had been infected by the virus, representing 10.4% of the population under study. 510 students from six primary schools were included in the study. There were three probable cases of corona virus infection in three different schools before the schools closed for the February vacation and then for the lockdown. These cases did not give rise to secondary cases among other school students or teaching staff. Children did not spread the infection to other students or to teachers or other staff at the schools. The study also confirmed that younger children infected by the corona virus generally do not develop symptoms or present with minor symptoms that may result in a failure to diagnose the virus.”
Example 4: Swedish Study
Unlike Washington state, the nation of Sweden did not close their public schools. Despite being open with no restrictions or masks, schools in Sweden did not experience any increased risk to either students or teachers.
This result from this huge experiment involving tens of thousands of teachers and hundreds of thousands of students in Sweden was published on July 7, 2020. Here is a link to this study: https://www.folkhalsomyndigheten.se/contentassets/c1b78bffbfde4a7899eb0d8ffdb57b09/covid-19-school-aged-children.pdf
The study compared the outcome in Sweden, where schools remained open, to its neighbor Finland, where schools were closed. Here are quotes from the study (with my bolding added to relevant sentences about the lack of risk to teachers or students):
“There was no difference in the overall incidence of the laboratory confirmed covid-19 cases in the age group 1-19 years in the two countries. No deaths were reported in this age group in either Sweden or Finland. Outbreak investigations in Finland have not shown children to be contributing much in terms of transmission and in Sweden a report comparing risk of covid-19 in different professions, showed no increased risk for teachers. In conclusion, closure or not of schools had no measurable direct impact on the number of laboratory confirmed cases in school-aged children in Finland or Sweden. Children in general seem to be much less affected by covid-19 than adults. They do not become severely ill to the same extent as adults and because of less severe symptoms or none at all, might be less infectious.”
“Finland is about half the size of Sweden with 5.5 million inhabitants compared to 10.3 million in Sweden. Compared to other professions, the relative risk among teachers in day care, primary and secondary school were the same, indicating no increased risk of exposure and infection in the Swedish group.”
“The Public Health Agency of Sweden published a report on covid-19 and school children on May 29, 2020, summarizing the findings and effects of keeping day care and primary schools open in Sweden… By now it is evident that children are much less likely to develop serious disease if they become infected meaning that keeping schools open might be less harmful for children than closing them.”
“In the contact tracings in primary schools in Finland, there has been hardly any evidence of children infecting other persons. The Swedish comparison of the number of reported cases among staff in day care and primary school to the number of cases in other professions does not show any increased risk for teachers. This also indicates that the role of children in propagating this infection is likely to be small. Various studies on contact tracing have also found that children rarely are the first case in family clusters.”
In conclusion, Sweden is a nation that is about 20% bigger than Washington state. In the most detailed study done in the world to date on risk to teachers of direct teaching in schools, the authors of the study (the Swedish Department of Health) found that there was no additional risk to teachers or students in keeping thousands of schools open.
Example 5: Australia Study
The July 2020 issue of Pediatrics medical journal published a similar summary of research from China, France, Switzerland, and Australia showing that infected children do not spread the disease to each other, or to their teachers. The biggest case study was from New South Wales, where nine infected students and nine infected staff exposed a total of 735 students and 128 staff. Only two of the exposed children got sick, and none of the adults. Contract tracing found that, in 79% of households, at least one adult family member was suspected or confirmed for COVID19 prior to symptom onset in the study child, confirming that children are infected almost exclusively at home inside family clusters. The editors of the study concluded: “This data all suggests that children are not significant drivers of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Here is a link to this report: https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/early/2020/07/08/peds.2020-004879.full.pdf
In plain English, in the above study of 863 tested individuals, all from the same school in Australia, a total of 18 were found to carry the corona virus (less than 2 percent). All 18 had contracted the virus outside of the school. 16 of the 18 infected people had contracted the corona virus in their private homes from another infected family member. Despite the infected teachers and students exposing 963 individuals to the corona virus while at school, there were only 2 confirmed cases of transmission that was outside of the home – both were children who contracted it from an unknown source. None of the 128 staff at the school, most of whom were teachers, were infected by the corona virus while at school and in close contact with other students and teachers.
* The China study found no infections from children.
* The Ireland study found no infections from children.
* The French study found no infections from children.
* The Swedish study found no infections from children.
* The Australian study found no infections from children.
* In total, nearly 100 studies found no infections from children.
How many more studies will it take before people finally realize that children do not transmit the corona virus?
Examples of Fake News Claims that Children have Infected Adults
Despite this overwhelming evidence that children do not transmit the corona virus, the mass hysteria media, funding by drug companies wanting to use fear to sell their corona vaccines, have put out nearly daily stories claiming that children are infecting adults. Here are a couple of the latest examples.
July 31, 2020 Forbes article cites 2 fake studies
The first example is a July 31, 2020 article on the Forbes website claiming that not only do children spread the corona virus, but that they are super spreaders. Here is a link to this ridiculous article:
The article references two recent studies. One is a Chicago study that noted that children who are infected with the corona virus has a high amount of the virus in their system. The Chicago study did not look at actual transmission, merely the viral load which they assumed was related to transmission. As it turns out, this is not a good assumption which is why we need to look at actual transmission studies.
The Italy Fake Science Study
The second Forbes reference was a study from Italy that was published on July 29, 2020. Here is a link to the Italy study:
The Italy study cited in the Forbes article was the first study of actual transmission that claimed to have found cases of childhood transmission. In fact, the Italian study concluded that child transmitters had the highest rate of transmission of any age group. I was therefore very interested in reading how they reached this conclusion – given that their study produced a result that was opposite that of every other study in the world.
It turns out that the Italian study got their data mainly from self reports. The self reports were loaded with missing data and unconfirmed conclusions. For example, only about half of the claimed initial and secondary cases had actually received a positive test for the corona virus. Without an actual test, these cases might have simply been the seasonal flu. In addition, the self reports claimed that the initial cases had an average of only three contacts. Most of the studies I have read have concluded that initial cases had closer to 100 contacts. So three contacts borders on the ridiculous.
As for the claim that children were the highest transmitters of the corona virus, the study involved 2,812 total initial cases and 6,690 secondary contacts. Of the 2,812 cases, only 14 cases (all reported by their parents) claimed that the initial case was a child aged 0-14 years.
This was an infection rate of only 0.5 percent – which is much lower than the expected infection rate in a group of 2,812 cases.
These 14 children were claimed to have had 49 contacts (about 3 per child). This is much lower than the expected contact rate for children.
The 14 parents reported that 11 of these 49 contacts became cases (22.4%).
Because 22.4% was the highest rate of contagiousness of any age group, the authors of the study concluded that children ages 0 to 14 years old were the highest transmitters of any age group.
The authors seemed blind to the possibility that parents had mistakenly blamed the child for making the adult sick. The odds are that half of these 14 children were never even tested for the corona virus. Parents like all adults mistakenly assume that children are major transmitters of viruses. This is why parents support closing schools. However, even before the corona virus, studies confirmed that children are not major transmitters of viruses – adults are the real transmitters. This is even more true with the corona virus.
Since the Italy report is based on extremely inaccurate self reports, and based on flawed assumptions of a tiny group of 14 parents out of a pool of 2,812 initial cases, and since this study has been refuted by more than 100 much more carefully done studies involving more than one million children, I would give this study and the Forbes article written about it a grade of F - for Fake News.
The CDC Georgia Fake Science Study
On Monday, August 3, 2020, the lead story on many major news channels claimed that kids had transmitted the corona virus while staying at a summer camp in Georgia. This was then used as a reason that it is wise to not reopen schools this fall.
But did any kids really spread the corona virus at their summer camp? Here is a link to the study, published by the CDC on July 31, 2020, in case you want to read it yourself. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/pdfs/mm6931e1-H.pdf
Summary of study:
A total of 597 Georgia residents attended camp A. Nearly all stayed in cabins with about 20 beds. Median camper age was 12 years. The median age of staff members was 17 years. Test results were available for 344 (58%) attendees; among these, 260 (76%) were positive. Among the 260 positive cases, 100 reported symptoms ranging from fever (65), headache (61), and sore throat (46).
Here is a quote from this CDC study:
“Given the increasing incidence of COVID-19 in Georgia in June and July, some cases might have resulted from transmission occurring before or after camp attendance.”
The conclusion falsely stated:
“This investigation adds to the body of evidence demonstrating that children of all ages are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and, contrary to early reports, might play an important role in transmission.”
In fact, there were no reports of contact tracing of any children who got the corona virus. What would have indicated a child transmitting the virus to an adult is if the child went home and transmitted the virus to their parents or other family members.
In all of the studies I have read that did contact tracing, they were unable to find a single example of any child transmitting the corona virus to any adult.
Why didn’t the CDC study report the results of contact tracing?
It is nearly certain that contact tracing was done. My guess is that contract tracing would reveal that the 12 year olds were not the initial source of infection. Even the 17 year olds were unlikely to be the initial source of infection. The goal of the study was not to provide information. It was simply to mislead people into thinking that children transmit the corona virus.
All Washington State News Organizations Refuse to Print the Truth about the Lack of Childhood Transmission
During my run for State Superintendent of Public Schools, I was asked many times about my claim that no child in Washington state had infected any adult. I sent every news agency all of the studies I have linked to above. All of the news agencies in the state refused to publish any of this information. Instead, all of them continued to run stories claiming that children were infecting adults.
One news agency, the Vancouver Columbian, accused me of lying. Here is the quote:
“David Spring.. inaccurately claims that scientific research has shown adults are not at risk from kids transmitting the virus. The research on this so far shows a lower risk among younger age groups, not no risk.”
Here is the link to this article:
I was never contacted by the Columbian to ask for evidence that my claim was true. Instead the Columbian simply published false information.
It is therefore no wonder that parents and teachers think that there will be mass death if we reopen the schools this fall. The scientific research on this topic is being deliberately blacklisted – and replaced with fear mongering stories that mislead the voters.
It is therefore important for parents and teachers to realize that we are all currently swimming in an toxic waste dump of lies and propaganda. Never trust anything you read in the paper or hear on your TV. Do you own research and read the source documents.
The future of our schools and our kids depend on parents and teachers waking up. Remember, I was the only candidate for State Superintendent (or any other office) with the courage to tell the voters the truth about the corona virus.
As always, I look forward to your questions and comments.
David Spring M. Ed.
spring for schools at gmail dot com